Skip to main content

Reply to this post | Go Back
View Post [edit]

Poster: dark.starz Date: Aug 2, 2011 9:13pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: What Do You Like About The 80's ?

I'll take the que from LIA...

Wisconsin,

Art and music are an acquired taste. I mean there are great musicians who perform boorish music and there are mediocre talents that perform involving music. It all boils down to one’s personal taste.

The 80's for the most part were a great time to see the Dead (except perhaps some of the haggen daz era 84-86 imho). The Dead played some amazing venues and by 1981 Jerry and Brent completely trusted each others musical instincts.

The Feb 1981 Uptown Theatre shows were a pinnacle moment in terms of performance acumen and musicality as was much of 1981 up through and including the fabulous 12/31/81 New Years Eve show from the Oakland Auditorium.


The Space > Other One > NFA > GDTRFB > Dew > Dark Star is legendary!

http://www.archive.org/details/gd81-12-31.sbd.bertha-ashley.12784.sbeok.shnf


Only caught the July 82 Red Rocks shows, it rained, and for the most part (imho) the band seldom seemed loose and relaxed during 1982 with a few exceptions.

1983 saw a somewhat realigned Garcia bringing back into the line-up numbers such as Dupree > Help > Slip > Franklins, he and Weir definitely stretched out more during space that year in some interesting ways. The Red Rocks & Sante Fe runs in September 1983 are all compelling performances.


Slipknot > Throwing Stones from 09/06/83 at the Rocks is exceptional!

http://www.archive.org/details/gd83-09-06.sbd.clugston.5489.sbeok.shnf


During the comeback year of 1987, one of the most compelling tales in the annals of Rock n Roll history found a renewed Garcia, new material, Dylan tour, etc. Tighter performances were now the norm, more often than not.


Bird Song > Maggies Farm > Cumberland 10/03/87 Shoreline Premiere (this is so unlike CM, maggies is actually LLR)

http://www.archive.org/details/gd1987-10-03.sbd.walker-scotton.miller.83906.sbeok.flac16


The Greek Theatre & Laguna Seca shows in July 1988 found the band performing new music in exploratory ways that hadn't been heard since the 70's. There was a coherency to the sound, all cylinders in sync and they were once again having fun on stage, a more adult stage this time out. The PA also evolved with the Meyer/Ultrasound partnership providing probably the best live "in-concert" sound heard to date.

The Playing in the Band space from Laguna Seca sounds like Jerry and company are attempting to communicate with the whales in the Monterey Bay.


Oxford Plains 07/02/88 Great Show....

http://www.archive.org/details/gd1988-07-02.sbd.miller.86817.sbeok.flac


Laguna Seca 07/29/88 Check out the Playing in the Band

http://www.archive.org/details/gd88-07-29.sbd.hayum.5395.sbeok.shnf


1989, everything evolved to yet another level, some folks, Weir included, consider 1989 to be the band’s pinnacle year in terms of performance acumen. The May Frost, June Shoreline and July Buffalo & Alpine Valley 89 shows are all classic performances as was most of the East Coast tour that fall. I recall Irvine Meadows on 04/29/89 after drums when Jerry appeared on stage playing the midi-Strat and the interesting exploration that ensued throughout 1990 during space and various song transition jams.


Shoreline 06/18/89 Check out the Hey Pocky Way > Iko > Samson

http://www.archive.org/details/gd1989-06-18.dsbd.miller.83709.sbeok.flac16


And even though a short 1990 saw some classic performances, the tension on stage between the band, Jerry & Brent was becoming apparent for reasons that don't really need to be discussed.

The 60's were a unique period in time, Lysergic has a profound impact on a musicians expression. The Dead evolved throughout the 70's as their focus turned more towards crafting songs, the telling of the tale, not as much of the wild open form improv of 1968 - 1969. And if you really want to break down the creative periods of this band, the tide shifted each time the keyboard player changed. I mean look at how different the performances were between February 1971 and December 1971 for example.

1973 evolved with new material and like 1972, one drummer on stage provided Jerry, Phil and Bill more opportunity to lead and explore specific jams. 1974 rocked as well, a bit more new material, though the choice of recreation backstage had profoundly changed from the 60's as well (excess). The lessons of the Wall are well understood.

The second half of the seventies 1976 - 1978 were three beautiful years for this band. Having had the pleasure of experiencing the Dead live in 1971, 1973, 1974, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1979, multiple times most every year of the 80's, and 90's up to 1994, I can personally attest that the 80's were a solid time to see the Dead, great venues, more readily available access to first and second generation tapes, fun on the scene and beyond, great memories, ultimate life experiences.

Everyone’s entitled to their opinion, but I think if you were there throughout most the 80's, more often than not, you walked out of the show with a smile on your face, skippin and dancin away into the night, grateful for what you’d just experienced.

To get it, you really had to be there!



This post was modified by dark.starz on 2011-08-03 04:13:45

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: dirtybuck Date: Aug 2, 2011 6:07pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: What Do You Like About The 80's ?

I better chime in here because I've always been a flag waving 80's guy around here. My love is very specific though, 82-85, with 1983 being to me, the Dead at the peak of the modern era.
Anything past 86' and i'm done...I still check it out, but don't download or anything.
I love what Garcia's playing grew into. I find most of the early guitar stuff very shrill and tough to listen to (most 60's guitarists as well). I love what he was doing vocally around 82-83, by 85' problems were setting in for sure, and after the coma, it totally changed, very hard to enjoy after that. Loved Brent's keyboards sounds and harmony, loved Bobby's use of effects around that time, loved the matching Sonar drum kits.
The venue's and the "scene" were fantastic up untll around 86.
I've been listening to a bunch of early stuff lately on Sirrus, and quite frankly, other than Phil's bass playing, it somewhat bores me. I dig what those songs became.
Of course as earlier stated, after Let's say, Summer 1985,
It was over for me.(still went to some shows of course)
And to really get particular, I would say it was downhill after Jerry was busted in Jan. of 85,
Crazy and funny, but to me that's how it goes.
Before the dope and his health got the best of him, he was absolutly on fire.
Oh, and i'll take any of those 10 song Garcia Band shows in 1984 over any other period too, but that's for a different thread someday.

This post was modified by dirtybuck on 2011-08-03 01:03:20

This post was modified by dirtybuck on 2011-08-03 01:07:22

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: dark.starz Date: Aug 2, 2011 6:21pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: What Do You Like About The 80's ?

Agreed, if you truly dig Garcia as a musician, then you gotta love The Garcia Band, hai?

Many of the best memories from the post Brent era begin with the Shoreline 09/01/90 Garcia Band show (the unofficial Brent memorial imho) and the many great Garcia Band shows at The Warfield in 1993.

I recall reading something here recently about Melvin Seals being a slouch? Aarrgghh! :)

I guess there must be some amazing musical talents out there that can outperform these folks on any given stage, hai?

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: Cliff Hucker Date: Aug 2, 2011 5:37pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: What Do You Like About The 80's ?

"To get it, you really had to be there!"

Is that so Koch?

Then how is that you know? You didnt see your first show untill 1994...

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: snow_and_rain Date: Aug 2, 2011 9:30pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: What Do You Like About The 80's ?

"You didnt see your first show until 1994..."

Which is the band's peak year of course. I know this because all of K's aliases seem to be driving toward that conclusion.

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: bkidwell Date: Aug 2, 2011 4:14pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: What Do You Like About The 80's

I don't usually get too excited (or even bother listening to) about a sequence that looks like Hey Pocky Way -> Iko Iko, but in this case, I have to admit that 89 Shoreline show makes it sound good. Not too excited by the Samson, though, that song wore out its welcome before 77 was over. It just rides a standard progression obsessively to no great purpose and no amount of playing the same riffs over and over can change that. If there was ever a song that needed a contrasting bridge or somewhere to go, it's Samson. I think that song was mostly about the drummers, I think Mickey really liked pounding out the rhythm.

Anyway, I generally prefer the spacier, jazzier, more exploratory 89-90 jams to the more rockish stuff in 88-89, but there is definitely a good Jerry/Brent dynamic at work in the pop/garage rock material. Some people prefer the higher energy sound of the earlier part of the post-coma period. Since the drugs & addiction issue always comes up, I'd say Jerry was probably more sober in 88 than in 90, but maybe the earlier phases of relapse and readdiction go along with spacey jamming. I also agree about the significance of the 7/29/88 Playin as an early manifestation of the band moving back toward the more ambitious and open style.

I strongly disagree with any "you had to be there" claims, however. Music is music. If music is of real quality, it retains that quality when recorded, or even just transcribed onto sheet music, although a full transcription of a GD jam is somewhat inconceivable without specially written computer software, most likely.

This post was modified by bkidwell on 2011-08-02 23:14:22

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: dark.starz Date: Aug 3, 2011 1:02pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: What Do You Like About The 80's

Bkid,

I'll gather that you are a performer, as was i up until a decade ago, and get what you are saying about this version of Samson.

As a guitarist, playin a Strat with distortion locked-on running the scales, (and i've taken a few shots at Samson in the past) this song only works if the drummer and lead guitarist can stay in-time, like a furious musical conversation.

This song works best when performed at a fast pace, 07/08/78 Red Rocks comes to mind. Add on top of Jerry's blistering lead work Brent's Hammond overtones and the song takes on wings (imho).

I have to disagree however with you assessment of live vs tape to some extent. The experience of being present at a live music event "in-the-moment" is a multi-dimensional experience.

This emotional and intellectual stimulus received and processed has a much more profound impact when compared to listening to a recording played back on any variety of electronic music systems, which also impacts your long term memory of the original live event, and how that impacts your emotions when listening to a recording from that live event that you were present at.

However, that being said, it's always a treat when you can play a recording in a listening room and receive the emotional expression of the artist.

Interesting first set none the less filled with several first set openers. Perhaps i should have highlighted the well performed version of Queen Jane Approximately :)?

We were all glowing ear to ear as this show began in the daylight, so i may be slightly jaded as to my impression from memory of this performance from a previous time.



This post was modified by dark.starz on 2011-08-03 20:02:30

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: bkidwell Date: Aug 2, 2011 4:57pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: What Do You Like About The 80's

I enjoy Weir's Dylan covers a lot, which has more to do with Jerry's excellent and expressive guitar work in the accompaniment than anything else. This version seems marred to me by having Weir's vocal mixed too loud - when I set the volume so the instruments are at my preferred volume, Weir sounds like he is spitting right into my ear. That mix issue seems to improve later in the song by a bit. I like this version apart from that mix issue, though. I'm not too much of a fan of Weir's blues covers, but I enjoy the Dylan songs. Weir's controversial half-spoken delivery often works well in this context to highlight the lyrics.

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: dark.starz Date: Aug 2, 2011 10:18pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: What Do You Like About The 80's

"Weir's controversial half-spoken delivery often works well in this context to highlight the lyrics."

Is that a cryptic way to say that dyslexia is a gift? :)

In terms of the "to get it, you really had to be there!" comment, this was mostly directed towards the 80's nay sayers and pooh-pooh heads.

Even during the darkness of 1984, 1985, 1986 we still managed to have fun at shows, it also helped if you arrived without too many expectations. From what i've read here, this is probably a smart strategy for Furthur as well.

I love it all, just prefer certain specific moments in time more than others like everybody else. And many of those moments are from shows in attendance.





This post was modified by dark.starz on 2011-08-03 05:18:35

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: light into ashes Date: Aug 2, 2011 8:59pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: What Do You Like About The 80's ?

Actually what I'd REALLY like to see is a "What Don't You Like About The '60s" thread... That could be interesting.

Anyway - if there's one thing I like in the '80s, it's 10/15/83. (That whole summer/fall really, Garcia seemed to have a renewed interest in jamming & the band sounded more excited. Which goes against the traditional "sinking deeper into addiction" storyline.)
And if there's one thing I like in the '90s, it's Days Between.

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: dark.starz Date: Aug 3, 2011 3:08pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: What Do You Like About The 80's ?

This may sound a tad cliche; "wasn't there".

I mean the second half of the 60's were an amazing time in history and i'm certain if you poll the forum members this era holds the lowest percentage of attendance.

My oldest brother bought "The Grateful Dead" album in 1967 and the Beatles, Cream, Doors FM & AM radio somehow sounded more musical. Christmas 1970 he gave the gift of a reel to reel tape with AM Beauty on one side and Live Dead on the other. This was the first gestalt link to this music.

Have always found the 60's Dead music to be both really intense, and raw, except for perhaps the acoustic music, pig's blues covers and some of the instrumental extrapolation, dark star etc.

I've listened extensively to the Dead's music from 1968 - 1970 and just find myself drawn towards performances after Keith joined and forward. Guess i find the musicality, structure, songs and vocal acumen to be more enjoyable when compared to the 60's intensity. (imho)

However, if i happened upon a vial could certainly dive in head first to this "multi-dimensional" era with arms, eyes and ears wide open.

:)


This post was modified by dark.starz on 2011-08-03 22:08:24

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: kschneid Date: Aug 2, 2011 9:53pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: What Do You Like About The 80's ?

Getting joy from an '83 ref really demands some appreciation, so, thanks! You'd think someone with big railroad blues would be a bit more, you know, blue. But that's one happy, happy tune...

...and speaking of '83, how can anyone not be thankful for an aboriginal Sugar Mags?

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: jerlouvis Date: Aug 2, 2011 10:25pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: What Do You Like About The 80's ?

LIA,I wonder what your thoughts on the space from 10/15/83 might be,I remember some time back Bkidwell made some interesting comments on it,I don't recall if you chipped in I got sidetracked and never got back to it.I remember paying close attention to the space that night because they had played St. Stephen 3 nights earlier at MSG and we were hoping to catch any hints of another one.We did not get any hints,but we did get a fantastic,developed,very interesting 10 minutes of space where Weir and Jerry exchanged multiple ideas,playing Jobim/bossa nova licks against hard space licks,full on spanish space music -> ominous vibe -> well struck Weir strums into a pretty Jer/Weir duet ->crunching soft space-> St. Stephen. I recall Bkidwell saying something about a tarantella.

http://www.archive.org/details/gd1983-10-15.fob.senn441.silberman.miller.93751.sbeok.flac16

This post was modified by jerlouvis on 2011-08-03 05:25:10

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: light into ashes Date: Aug 3, 2011 1:33am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: What Do You Like About The 80's ?

Well, through the summer of '83 Jerry & Weir had been working on these guitar duets as the "space" - this one was the first I heard, and remained my favorite. Being limited to 2 guitars gives it a very open, uncluttered feel rare in the Dead's '80s music. I took it as basically a long tease - at the start they shift between Spanish Jam & Other One motifs, then later on Jerry plays a couple pretty melodic themes that sound like they're going into something familiar, but they keep backing off and circling around...something... Then the something turns out to be St Stephen. But even if you didn't know that was coming next, it was fascinating for me to hear how closely they follow each other into new patterns.

The Taping Compendium describes it well:
"Bob lays down a wonderful grouping of simple chords...Jerry makes a dark, sweet statement over them. Bob then suggests the Spanish Jam. Jerry thoughtfully replies. But while the two flirt with Spain, they never fully go there... One might think that this would be a frustrating experience for the listener...but it is a wonderful flirtation, a truly poetic moment, for the two are so in sync that when they move to other related themes, the digression is in itself hypnotic. This goes on for several minutes as they ebb and flow between loud silences and furious flurries of subtle activity... Bob shifts from playing minor chord patterns into a major chord theme, and in turn the jam goes from deliciously dark to lyrically bright. Then Bob starts hammering bell-like harmonics to which Jerry replies with the opening notes of St Stephen."

The Stephen itself is the best one of '83 - meaning it's just OK & not very enthusiastic, kind of collapses at the end; but the best part of the evening had already been played.

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: billydlions Date: Aug 3, 2011 4:49am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: What Do You Like About The 80's ?

I've always liked the space jam from 10-31-83 the best from that tour. It's not really space, but a pre-Stephen jam that really goes places. I'm sure you've heard it but if not give it a try. The fall tour from 1983 is (IMHO) the last great tour for the band. It's not as good as the spring or fall tour of 1981, but perhaps the equal of the summer tour from 1982. It seems like Jerry raised his level of play during the JGB shows from June and kept it up all the all the way through 10/31. When I think of 80's dead, it's really Aug 1980- Oct 1983.

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: light into ashes Date: Aug 3, 2011 12:37pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: What Do You Like About The 80's ?

10-31-83 is a good Space - different feel, a lot wilder - the drummers keep going, in fact they try to take over the Space, so it doesn't have the same gentle Bob/Jerry duet thing going. (Kind of interesting that Airto just leaves in the middle of Space, too, just when you think he's getting going...)
http://www.archive.org/details/gd83-10-31.sbd.gardner.3827.sbeok.shnf

'83 is not necessarily as sharp as '82 was, but I think a lot of it (esp from the second half) is really enjoyable.
'84 has some really interesting jams too - a lot of people kind of "sign off" after '83, but some of the jams in '84 have this really dark & dreamy feel that I like.

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: AltheaRose Date: Aug 3, 2011 5:18am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: What Do You Like About The 80's ?

Definitely. I like that show, but it seems to be kind of under the radar. It's a great drums > space, and also different, cuz it's with Airto, as I recall. Last St Stephen. I agree that's a fine tour; IMO June 85 is quite good, too, if you don't mind frogs.

This post was modified by AltheaRose on 2011-08-03 12:18:19

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: jerlouvis Date: Aug 3, 2011 9:26am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: What Do You Like About The 80's ?

I found that space to be very inventive,they didn't merely bounce around familiar ideas,but twisted them around some,at about 1:50 Weir is playing something akin to Girl From Impanema while Jerry plays sharp mutron space licks in return,a beautiful contrast.At about 4 minutes an O1 jam slides into a spanish jam which morphs into a unique flamenco style O1 jam,it's really strong.This space is everything space should have been,I lose interest in the bulk of them because they are usually not interesting,and I really don't enjoy the mutron folder effect for the most part,I found their use of gadgetry to be a band-aid for lack of creativity.

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: snow_and_rain Date: Aug 2, 2011 10:33pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: What Do You Like About The 80's ?

"And if there's one thing I like in the '90s, it's Days Between."

Ugh... really? The lyrics are okay, I guess, but the song itself if perfectly dreadful -- plodding and predictable with a half-assed melody that sounds like it was copied from a Neil Diamond B-side.

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: light into ashes Date: Aug 3, 2011 12:18am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: What Do You Like About The 80's ?

Really. You know what's really shocking? I like Corrina too, aside from Weir's singing.

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: snow_and_rain Date: Aug 3, 2011 6:42am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: What Do You Like About The 80's ?

Corrina has surprised me in the past. I really cringe at the overwrought song structure (the bridge is truly an awful piece of music). But I have to say, it was one of the best parts of the Furthur show I saw last month. Very well jammed. I also saw the Dead play it in '93, and the drive toward drums included a very pleasant little MLB jam that really took me by surprise.

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: bkidwell Date: Aug 3, 2011 12:21am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: What Do You Like About The 80's ?

Count me among the "shocked" although I feel somewhat the same way you do. My big problem with Corrina is that the song part lasts too long and is over-arranged. One of the things I really don't understand about the GD is their failure to grasp how their own best material worked.

Corrina would have been much better if the band had gotten rid of the annoying and repetitive group-singing glissandos and chopped the arrangement in half so the whole song lasted no longer than the singing portion of Playing in the Band.

All of the GD's "best" material is characterized by incredibly brief and simple arrangements of the sung portion. As the band became more skilled at writing full songs, for some reason they stopped creating small songs based on a single strong musical idea, which are what work best for improvisation.

It seems so musically obvious to me, and I just don't grasp why they didn't have the insight to create more tiny songs with a single, interesting riff to use as an improv springboard. I think somehow the concept of a "song" as a larger, finished composition got in the way. Some kind of ego-involvement or something just blinded (deafened?) them to the basic source of what the hell they were doing.

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: light into ashes Date: Aug 3, 2011 3:16am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: What Do You Like About The 80's ?

"All of the GD's "best" material is characterized by incredibly brief and simple arrangements of the sung portion. As the band became more skilled at writing full songs, for some reason they stopped creating small songs based on a single strong musical idea..."

Really? I thought Dark Star & the Other One were the big exceptions in this regard.
Let's see, as far as early band-composed songs... New Potato has a very long & over-arranged song part for us to suffer through before the jam starts! Truckin' is not exactly a brief little ditty; and in Alligator likewise we have a long wait through a song that's almost unrelated to the subsequent jam. Bird Song is simple, but still goes through a full regular "song" before the solo, as does Scarlet Begonias, or Here Comes Sunshine, or China Cat. China Cat's perhaps the smallest of these, with the song dispatched in quick time - but then, usually so is the jam. He's Gone is the longest example; despite being simplicity itself, we sometimes have to wait up to 10 minutes before the jam!
Playing in the Band is maybe a close approach to what you're thinking of - although the song itself is still cobbled together more from 2 or 3 different riffs, and is not the simplest arrangement in its lurches between riffs (and for that matter was jam-free in its first year). Many of Weir's songs that eventually got jammed-out, like Let It Grow or Estimated or later songs, are not at all what I'd call brief or simple. Some of Garcia's most extended songs are very simple, just with long solos in-between the verses - Eyes, Fire, Franklin's, Sugaree... Eyes is the most jammed-out of that bunch, the jam practically springs from the groove - actually I think there's still too much "song" in that song! (Caution is a similar case.) Anyway, without going further, practically all the songs I can think of that developed a jam were fully developed & full-length before the jam grew into them.

So, I'm a little puzzled by what you mean... Perhaps a three-minute song portion seems briefer to you than it does to me! Maybe I'm misunderstanding you & going on about nothing. Maybe you're thinking of the early shift from Dead tunes that grew out of jams, to Hunter/Garcia or Weir tunes that were composed more as proper "album" songs.
There may be musical reasons why some songs grew & some didn't (fewer chords, or more adaptable keys, or such), but I feel like almost any early or mid-period song the Dead wrote COULD have been opened up, but few were. Take examples like Comes a Time or Crazy Fingers - in '76 we saw how even relatively complex, chord-rich songs like those could open up into extended closing jams, though they were cut short in later years (The Wheel was one I never understood why it had to end so soon) - and Phil's later bands have explored this approach to many songs. (In many of Weir's more jammed-out songs, on the other hand, I notice that the jams are more self-enclosed and stick to the song structure, maybe because his arrangements are more complicated and the music can't "escape.")

I agree though, that from the late '70s on, the Dead were almost perverse in writing a group of songs that lended themselves very little to open jams. Perhaps this is what you meant when you said their compositional side was in conflict with their improvisations... The Dead were usually pretty strict in picking which songs they "allowed" to grow.

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: bkidwell Date: Aug 3, 2011 4:22am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: What Do You Like About The 80's ?

I should have been more clear. I was referring specifically to "Dark Star" "The Other One" and "Playing in the Band" when I referred to the band's "best material" - I meant the absolute top rank most important jam songs.

For songs-as-songs there are certainly better songs, and I wasn't meaning to imply that all of the wonderful material that is somewhat less purely improvisational (like Here Comes Sunshine and many of the others you listed) is not great material with important performances.

I was just making the point that the songs which have the most important improvisation over the whole lifespan of the band are all very much just a basic musical idea and a fairly short and simple sung portion.

I think all the examples you gave demonstrate that in some ways the band started taking a different view of improvisation. They started trying to create a more specific mood and texture that was intended for a more brief exploration. The jams connected to songs like Estimated, Scarlet, and the like usually stay within the defined "feel" of the song.

I think you understand what I mean, I just didn't make the point very clear. Viewed as a song, Scarlet Begonias is a much better song than Dark Star - but as a context for improvisation, as wonderful as the Scarlet jams were (both in 74 and during the ->Fire era) I don't think anyone believes it was a significant as the more free-form material.

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: snow_and_rain Date: Aug 3, 2011 6:47am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: What Do You Like About The 80's ?

"All of the GD's "best" material is characterized by incredibly brief and simple arrangements of the sung portion."

In a word: no.

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: bkidwell Date: Aug 3, 2011 6:58am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: What Do You Like About The 80's ?

Do you disagree that Dark Star, The Other One, and Playing in the Band represents the band's strongest improvisational frameworks?

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: snow_and_rain Date: Aug 3, 2011 8:18am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: What Do You Like About The 80's ?

Well, I would agree that those three songs are among the band's biggest jam launchers -- that seems obvious enough. Of course even then you'd need to consider the era.

But you said "best material."

"All of the GD's "best" material is characterized by incredibly brief and simple arrangements of the sung portion."

That's quite a different thing from "best songs for launching extended free-form jamming."

And even so, Playin in the Band is hardly a simple arrangement. Simpler than some, but 10/4 time with all those herky-jerky changes is not what I'd call simple. Of course, it led to some great open-ended jamming, but that's another matter.

As for their best "material," Let it Grow and Terrapin would appear on most people's lists (though Terrapin would probably spark some debate) and again, these are not simple arrangements.

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: bkidwell Date: Aug 3, 2011 8:41am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: What Do You Like About The 80's ?

Did you read LIA's post and my response? I already explained that I was using the word "best" to refer to the most important jam songs, because that is the most important part of what the Grateful Dead did, the large open-ended jams in 68-74, with those three songs in particular being at the heart of most of the best jams.

I completely agree that the best-composed songs as freestanding songs were different material, like Terrapin Station. I was trying to highlight the contrast in approach between something like Terrapin and a song like The Other One, to point out the tension between what works best for improvisation versus more elaborately composed material.

The fact that Playin is an unusual time signature, and explores different ways of subdividing a ten-beat cycle doesn't mean the arrangement of the song itself is complex - it's just 3 verse+choruses with an instrumental bridge, and it is very short, the singing part is always over in less than 3 minutes. Playin is definitely the most complexly arranged of the big jamming tunes though, especially if you look at the original arrangement with guaranteed reprise.

The fact that the Playin reprise became detached, and eventually often dispensed with entirely, is something that demonstrates the point I'm trying to make - similarly with Truckin, and how it shed its reprise. The more repetitions and elaborations and contrasting sections you have within a song, the harder it is to really open the song up, for time reasons if nothing else.

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: lobster12 Date: Aug 4, 2011 7:32am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: What Do You Like About The 80's ?

I'd also throw Bird Song in that group

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: bkidwell Date: Aug 3, 2011 12:11am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: What Do You Like About The 80's ?

The music for Days Between is definitely somewhat slow-moving and static harmonically, but I have absolutely no clue where you are pulling the Neil Diamond association from, I don't know much about his music but a long time ago I worked at a job where the boss played a tape of "Neil Diamond's Greatest Hits" or some such often, and I didn't hear anything that sounded even vaguely similar to "Days Between". I feel you are using that label because it expresses distaste/cheesiness but I don't hear the musical connection you do, although maybe the non-greatest hits of Neil Diamond are full of dark, slow ballads that I've never heard.

To me the harmony and melody of Days Between are a good musical embodiment of the kind of imagery used in the song. I find the music of Days Between is actually very similar to that of "Mountains of the Moon" in a good way, although the tempo is slower.

A lot of people who don't like the later years in general do like the last few Garcia originals.

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: snow_and_rain Date: Aug 3, 2011 6:41am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: What Do You Like About The 80's ?

" I feel you are using that label because it expresses distaste/cheesiness "

Bingo.

And on second thought. Neil Diamond was probably too kind. His songs are way more interesting and dynamic.

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: bkidwell Date: Aug 3, 2011 6:49am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: What Do You Like About The 80's ?

Well, as a musical antidote for the slow-moving harmonies of Days Between, I will offer a musical contrast which should provide some relief:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6KD39Vt7VFk

Thankfully the realm of music is broad enough to contain such diverse forms of expression.

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: snow_and_rain Date: Aug 3, 2011 8:02am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: What Do You Like About The 80's ?

If you're looking for a more precise analog for Days Between, I'd say it sounds more like a Moody Blues B-side.

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: bkidwell Date: Aug 3, 2011 8:11am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: What Do You Like About The 80's ?

Hmm, I don't really know any Moody Blues other than one song, "Legend of a Mind". I think that's a pretty good song though, and actually does seem to fit with the musical universe of Days Between. I guess that comparison sounds like it might have something to it.

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: snow_and_rain Date: Aug 3, 2011 8:28am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: What Do You Like About The 80's ?

I did say Moody Blues B-side. Days Between ain't no Nights in White Satin.

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: snow_and_rain Date: Aug 3, 2011 6:51am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: What Do You Like About The 80's ?

"I find the music of Days Between is actually very similar to that of "Mountains of the Moon" in a good way, although the tempo is slower."

Care to elaborate on this? I see few, if any, similarities.

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: bkidwell Date: Aug 3, 2011 7:00am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: What Do You Like About The 80's ?

Sure. It's mostly about the slow pace of harmonic change, a heavy emphasis on G in the bass, a use of harpsichord-like sounds, and an attempt to create a "from out of ancient tales" feeling and mood.

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: snow_and_rain Date: Aug 3, 2011 8:03am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: What Do You Like About The 80's ?

Hmmm.. okay. I guess there may be some vague similarities, but to me they sound very different. Mntns has the feel and chord structure of an ancient dirge, with folky rhythms and a number of interesting jumps and changes that challenge the listener just enough without sounding forces. TC's organ is perfectly composed and prominent in the melody. It's a folky, psychadelic masterpiece from the deep, dark core of the Grateful Dead's primordial soup that offers just enough light and playfulness to keep the listener intrigued.

Contrast that with Days - which has all the dull predictability of a Bob Segar love song. No surprises. A dull melody with zero flair and zero payoff. Sure, Vince or Bralove or whoever might switch on the harpsichord effect, but I've never heard anything close to what TC does on Mntns. The lyrics may share some medieval references, but the melodies couldn't be more different. No texture. Nothing.

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: bkidwell Date: Aug 3, 2011 8:37am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: What Do You Like About The 80's ?

Well, probably nothing will change your mind about the song, and if you're not feeling it, you're not feeling it, but Phil liked Days Between, and he thought the music for the song expressed something well.

"Achingly nostalgic, 'Days Between' evokes the past. The music climbs laboriously out of shadows, growing and peaking with each verse, only to fall back each time in hopeless resignation. When Jerry sings [...] I am immediately transported decades back in time, to a beautiful spring morning with Jerry, Hunter, Barbara Meier, and Alan Trist - all of us goofing on the sheer exhilaration of being alive. I don't know whether to weep with joy at the beauty of the vision, or with sadness at the impassable chasm of time between the golden past and the often painful present."

(Searching For the Sound, p. 311-312)

This post was modified by bkidwell on 2011-08-03 15:37:44

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: snow_and_rain Date: Aug 3, 2011 9:15am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: What Do You Like About The 80's ?

"Laboriously" sounds about right to me. Presumably phil also likes Wave to the Wind, right?

Edit: I think Days gains lots of traction from the fact that nobody wants to dis Jerry's last big, tragic ballad -- least of all Phil, I would think. But, hey, what do I know? Lots of people are really into So Many Roads too, so I wouldn't pretend to understand what songs Deadheads like or why they like them.

This post was modified by snow_and_rain on 2011-08-03 16:15:20

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: bkidwell Date: Aug 3, 2011 9:16am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: What Do You Like About The 80's ?

I doubt Phil likes Wave to the Wind that much, since the band dropped it, and I don't think it's been played much (if at all) by any of the follow up bands?

I don't think you can judge someone's musical taste by the fact they wrote some failed songs. By that standard, who has good taste? Almost everyone has some weak songs.

Anyway, I'm sorry if I've been too argumentative about the value of the song, it's far from one of my favorites, anyway. It was LIA who mentioned it in the first place, I think "So Many Roads" and "Lazy River Road" are both better, even among the last Garcia songs. I wish Days Between had a shorter sung portion, and actually did a bigger and more open jam - that goes back to what I've been saying about how the GD would have done better to focus more on instrumental improv based on themes rather than elaborate arrangements, for their later material. Some people connect this to Robert Hunter writing too many words for his later songs.

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: snow_and_rain Date: Aug 3, 2011 9:47am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: What Do You Like About The 80's ?

"I wish Days Between had a shorter sung portion, and actually did a bigger and more open jam"

I basically agree, except I'd replace the "had a shorter sung portion, and actually did a bigger and more open jam" with "was dropped and they just played Stella Blue or Morning Dew instead."

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: high flow Date: Aug 3, 2011 9:47am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: What Do You Like About The 80's ?

Etta James.

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: grendelschoice Date: Aug 3, 2011 8:47am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: What Do You Like About The 80's ?

Getting back to the original question:

I don't think you can lump the decade all together. To me, the decade starts off great with 3 solid years from 1980-1982, marked by Brent's growing vocal and instrumental contributions, and some terrific overall band jamming with precision thrown in, as in this Scarlet>Fire from 1982:

http://www.archive.org/details/gd82-09-11.sbd.clugston.2192.sbeok.shnf

IMO, there is then an immense drop-off in quality, mostly due to Jerry's declining health/drug use, from roughly 1983-1988. Yes, there are exceptions, including the stunning shows in Augusta, Maine in October of 1984 (2nd set in this show is among the best ever played):

http://www.archive.org/details/gd84-10-12.sbd.clugston.5585.sbeok.shnf

, but it's pretty tough to listen to Jerry's creaky vocals and a whole lot of sloppy, choppy play in the middle 80's.

Then at the end of the decade, a grand resurgence can clearly be heard from 1989-1990, perhaps best exemplified by any of the shows at Alpine Valley, including this one w/a sublime Sugar Mag>Scarlet transition and an overall sense of renewed purpose and professionalism in the playing:

http://www.archive.org/details/gd89-07-18.sbd.9854.sbeok.shnf

Still, the 80's can't hold a candle to the 70's, and 1977 makes everything else look pale by comparison ;-)

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: craven714 Date: Aug 4, 2011 7:16am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: What Do You Like About The 80's ?

The potent, inexpensive crack

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: eyeballjackson Date: Aug 2, 2011 3:44pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: What Do You Like About The 80's

What did I like about the 80s? Brent singing and playing his ASS off!

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: dark.starz Date: Aug 2, 2011 3:48pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: What Do You Like About The 80's ?

Exactly!

After the unfortunate "crash n burn" of K&D, this man's appearence on stage was a breath of fresh air.

The way Brent could rock out on the Hammond B-3 and sing in such a wonderful Blues impassioned vocal was indeed one of the most compelling tale of the 80's Dead.

(imho)

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: Pig Street ! Date: Aug 2, 2011 4:00pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: What Do You Like About The 80's ?

WEeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

Attachment: Brent.jpg

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: wisconsindead Date: Aug 2, 2011 5:11pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: What Do You Like About The 80's ?

haha! awesome picture

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: BornEasement Date: Aug 3, 2011 9:07am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: What Do You Like About The 80's ?

I object to your assertion that art and music are an acquired taste.

Art can be conceptualized as living between two paradigms... one romantic and radically individualistic, the other socio-cultural and broadly dependant on informative social constructs. Imagine two deadheads, one that talks about personal experiences of the divine at dead shows (a rather common anecdote) and another that emphasizes the community of deadheads and the essential value of the grateful dead's cultural criticism (a misreading of hunter's lyrics - but a common one).

Both these paradigms fail. Art and music achieve a broadening of conscious experience and expand an individual's capacity to approximate absolute vision of "being." This experience is reliant upon communicative systems- symbols, scales, chords, rhymes, etc. These systems, while often (though not always) dependent upon extracting emotions, work with varying degrees of clarity and complexity. More clear and more complex works, in my opinion, succeed more and are better remembered in the history books than their confused, simple counterparts.
I.E., there's a reason Raphael, Michelangelo, and Da Vinci are household names, and its not just the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Now, that's not to say that the variety of human experience doesn't play a role, or that artistic opinions don't vary. But a mozart listeners get more from mozart than gaga listeners from gaga. there's simply more there to get.

So, while I acknowledge the necessity of your observation, I just wanted to rant and ramble because I think there's a different side of that story.

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: bkidwell Date: Aug 3, 2011 9:29am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: What Do You Like About The 80's ?

That is a pretty insightful post into aesthetics, I think. Your comments remind me of something the great critic Charles Rosen wrote about whether or not Beethoven's reputation was purely a result of him being given privileged status, rather than any objective difference between his music and his contemporaries. Rosen wrote that you can argue about perceptions of beauty, but if you study the musical language in which Beethoven and other composers of his time worked, it becomes clear that Beethoven had a greater mastery of the language.

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: wisconsindead Date: Aug 2, 2011 6:45pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: What Do You Like About The 80's ?

I love the 80's for many reasons. I am a connoisseur as AltheaRose put it. And speaking critically of certain songs, they certainly (IMO) got better with the years.

Looks Like Rain - An OK sad country tune in its early years. Got much better or heartfelt after the hiatus with donna adding nice vocals to it. I feel the song really came to fruition once donna left and bobby developed his raps at the end. Examples... 1981-05-06, 1984-03-31, 1985-11-05 (or is it 08? lmao) 1986-07-06, 1989-07-04.

Jack Straw - This song became much more powerful and climactic over the years. All of my favorite Jack Straws are from the 80s minus DP 10 (1977-12-29/30).

Minglewood Blues - A long time favorite tune of me and my buddy's. The addition of brent took this song to an entirely new place. The organ made a massive difference. Listen to 1984-03-31 and 1989-07-18.

Deal - This one is obvious. Pre hiatus it was good. Post hiatus it became great with the addition of a longer jam. Egypt 78, DP 18, DP 25. And by the time brent came around a new structure for the song developed. It really took off with the newly developed final jam. 1989-07-04 and 1989-07-19 are the best versions I know of. I like the 78 versions but I get sick of the over and over "Don't you let that deal go down" at the end. I'd prefer bobby throwing cosmic waves through thunderstorms of drums and bass with jerry and brent propelling the madness.

Sugar Magnolia – Brent was a nice addition to this song and this was one tune that I feel never really got dusty. Sugar Mag was certainly better in the latter years. The SSDD are typically also much better with brent than without.

Brent – IMO, the best piano player the band ever had. While at times not crazy about his sound and the lack of actual pianos being used, he knew how to work the keys. He brought the organ back to the dead and he played it as good as anyone. His voice at times is so-so (DP 5 johnny b goode, just doesn’t sound right but still a monster version). But at other times his voice added a great dimension to the band. There are times where brent comes in singing and its just bliss. Brent filled a gap that was starting to become obvious. Whether he filled it properly is up to discussion. But what he did fill it with, I certainly enjoy and think is beyond what many other pianists could’ve done. For example not furthur’s piano player or anyone else has what brent had. He was a monster of the keys. In fact he brought the dimension of piano truly to the forefront when it comes to the dead. No one else held that kind of presence on the keys.

The Playing – The band played well, at times. It may have been more inconsistent but they were certainly capable of creating epic and heartfelt music until the end. When the dead is on, they’re on, and THAT is what gets me off. I love them when they’re firing on all cylinders. And to say the dead couldn’t do it in the latter days of the 80s or other times in the 80s, is foolish.

The dead also seemed a bit larger (sound wise, 87 and 89 sound “big” to me, where 88 sounds much smaller) in the 80s. I think Alpine 89 exemplifies this well. They were more climactic with their exploration through the jam in the 80s. I always preferred late 80s China > Riders because I felt the climax was so great. I now love early and late. Performances like the China > Rider, Deal. Desolation Row, New Minglewood, Sugar>Scarlet etc etc etc from this alpine run is undeniably hot and attest to that climactic musicianship. The band is a unified mindset which goes amazing places.

I love it when they do that, and they did in the 80s!

And that’s my 1 cent. I can’t remember where the other one went…


This post was modified by wisconsindead on 2011-08-03 01:45:29

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: AltheaRose Date: Aug 2, 2011 9:15pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: What Do You Like About The 80's ?

LLR is BETTER with Bob’s rap? What, as comedy? Hey, here’s an idea for a humor twofer: LLR > Do It In The Road!

I do prefer later LLRs to earlier ones, largely because it’s faster and over sooner. No, just kidding. The earlier, slower delivery is a bit dirge-like, or as if it’s trying to hard to be Oh So Meaningful, which just doesn’t work with it. My gut reaction is also that later ones are more jammed out, though I could be wrong. At any rate, I like the jams. I’m really thinking early 80s.

Anyway, what I like about the 80s:

- The shows. A lot of them are actually good. True, there aren’t as many transcendent moments or long stretches of amazing-ness that make you say “how the heck do they keep that up?!?” But they didn’t somehow STOP being terrific artists who could deliver memorable, wonderful music with good vibes and touch-the-sky moments.

- Brent’s organ and backup vocals. I’m certainly an unreconstructed Brent basher ... he sounds like a Doobie at Toys R Us, and his songs are unlistenable ... but I love his organ, his vocals add richness and depth when he’s not dominant (which sounds too Doobie-ish), and he's an undeniably terrific pianist (in spite of his incomprehensible preference for a plastic sound). Plus, we have the band’s own testimony that he reenergized them, which has to count for a lot.

- The songs. No, not the new ones or the covers, for the most part. But I actually like Wang Dang Doodle, the gazillionth version of Minglewood, 80s Deals, MSWS, Iko ... I wouldn’t trade early St Stephens for them, but they’re enjoyable. And hey, Althea is mainly 80s : -)

- Acoustic!!!

- Why would anyone want fewer flavors? We have 30 to choose from with this band, and that’s great. Granted, for me the MIDI era is Cookie Dough or Pink Bubble Gum or Reese's Peanut Butter Cup ice cream, with a lot of stuff that just doesn't belong in ice cream, so it’s not my choice. But a lot of the 80s definitely passes the taste test.

- The stuff still makes me happy. That's the bottom line, right?

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: wisconsindead Date: Aug 3, 2011 11:45am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: What Do You Like About The 80's ?

For being as critical as I typically am, I sure like a lot of stuff many others don't. lmao. (referring to LLR).

Give me a 68 viola or that 94 morning dew. I love it all, as long as the playing is good. And I think every year has at least one good version of a song that is surely worth listening to.

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: jerlouvis Date: Aug 2, 2011 9:03pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: What Do You Like About The 80's ?

Please explain to me the reasoning behind touting Brent as the best piano player the band ever had,he never even had a proper piano (outside of the acoustic 80' sets),he rarely even played the fake piano he had.Have you actually listened to the music from 72'-74' and heard what a quality pianist is capable of,obviously it is lost on you.That is just such a ludicrous statement,to compare that over the top hack keyboardist to a man capable of playing an acoustic piano in a the eye of the storm that was the GD,creating beautiful melodies,moving that insane music in different and intriguing directions.It just pisses on all the huge contributions Keith brought to the band to have to be compared to the likes of Brent.Also I could not have less respect for Furthur,but Jeff Chimenti is a far superior pianist to Brent.

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: snow_and_rain Date: Aug 2, 2011 10:32pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: What Do You Like About The 80's ?

I dig 80's Dead, but I basically agree with everything you said. Brent couldn't touch Keith in his prime. And having recently seen Chimenti with Furthur, I think he's probably better than Brent was too.

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: wisconsindead Date: Aug 3, 2011 7:04am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: What Do You Like About The 80's ?

gotta run to work. But dont worry I'll be back.

And yes, im jamming to a meaty 72 other one right now. I love the early 70s. And dont worry, I didnt say anyone sucked. I just think brent could man handle keys better than TC, Pig, Keith, Bruce, and Vince. Theres no debating it for me.

Hook me up with an example of how keith is the best por favor.

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: jerlouvis Date: Aug 3, 2011 7:50am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: What Do You Like About The 80's ?

There is no debating it for me either,since he never played an actual piano,and various other reasons.I come here for intelligent discourse on the GD's music,not to waste my time or try to prove blatantly obvious facts to people of differing opinions.You want an example,listen to any Dark Star,Playin',or Other One from 72'-74',Doobie boy is not on the same level.Other than that you are wasting my time.

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: wisconsindead Date: Aug 3, 2011 11:33am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: What Do You Like About The 80's ?

Well Jer, if I may, let me at least describe my position. I'm not trying to convince you, but I do believe there are legit reasons to feel the way I do.

I'd say the biggest reason, for me, as to why brent was a superior player, or the best the dead ever had, is that he is more adds to a jam more than keith or the others typically did. We wander from instrument to instrument in our listening. When someone is doing something sweet, we usually pay attention to them. That being said I think Brent had these moments WAY more frequently than any other keyboardist. I love Keith, don't get me wrong, I live for early 70s DS, TOO and playins. But when it comes to keyboardists, I just find it hard to say Keith was better than Brent when Brent showed up to jam far more and made much more of an impact on the jams being played. That is my reasoning, which has nothing to do with what kind of keys were being played.

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: jerlouvis Date: Aug 3, 2011 1:55pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: What Do You Like About The 80's ?

I will give this one last shot,in your original post you said PIANO PLAYER,not keyboardist,PIANO PLAYER,my conversation with you was about which person was a better pianist Keith or Brent,to make a ridiculous debate even less sensible,one of the parties did not even actually play a real piano,but an ineffectual electric version,not even a respectable Fender Rhoades,but some cheesy horseshit Korg or whatever it was.So I will say again that on the best day of his life Brent did not have 1/10th of the inventiveness or physical ability Keith displayed on the piano.As for how you feel about Brent in any manner other than the subject I responded to I can't say that I care even a little,if your original post had said keyboardist in place of pianist no conversation would have ensued.

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: wisconsindead Date: Aug 3, 2011 2:26pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: What Do You Like About The 80's ?

well to be fair. Neither of us know how great Brent was on a grand piano. Or acoustic piano. W.e it is that you're referring to. He rarely played it (i can only think of the acoustic 1980 sets), as Keith never played an organ so we don't know how he was at that (he might have been amazing). May I go so far as to say, Brent could've been even better than Keith on a grand piano. I know! the blasphemy!

My argument, if you pay attention what I'm saying is that he made the most of a melody, more so than keith (and its gonna take a lot of suggested listening to over turn my opinion on this, I've listened to PLENTY of early and late dead). The magic of the early years has little to do with Keith (if anything its the sound of his piano), the opposite is so with the 80s. Brent was more integral to the 80s sound than Keith was to the early 70s.

Please don't get so heated/offended by me sharing my opinion. I mentioned "keys" multiple times in my post and it should've been obvious what I meant. Im sorry I was apparently so vague.

I hope we can leave this discussion happily. I enjoy not making enemies here (which at times seems so hard to do).

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: unclejohn52 Date: Aug 4, 2011 8:19am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: What Do You Like About The 80's ? Brent & Keith

I saw this post yesterday, didn't have time to comment, but I feel compelled to now.

As a graphic artist, I am very aware of the use of "space" and placement of objects, and how blank space (either black or white) can be used for emphasis and contrast. For me, this is all-important in music as well - some empty spaces or rests actually accentuate what's going on around the melody, bass, and rhythmic sound. My personal knock on Brent is that he tends to fill some of that space all too often, either echoing Jerry's lead or dousing it with tinkley sounds - that deedle-deedle of two notes. Yet, he contributed in a great way just as often.

To your point - yes I'd agree Brent was more integral to the 80's sound - but the other half of that statement is easily refuted. Keith was extraordinarily integral to the sound from 71-77, especially 72-74, opening new vistas into jazzy territory and adding sophistication, imho. (78-79 - not so much.) His playing is not as colorful as Brent's (to these ears that's a good thing). I think Keith's improvisatory musical ideas really spurred Garcia a great deal, and his rhythmic chops filled a nice gap as Weir developed his unique in-between style. For many heads, 71-77 are the best years of the band, and that means Keith.

I'd agree that Brent contributed some terrific backup vocals, in good pitch and vocally controlled, and although I'm not a fan of his voice, he did a fine job filling the high vocal space after Donna left. Not to mention - Brent was in the chair longer than any other keyboard player, contributed songs of his own, and was there during what some regard as their best years from a touring p.o.v.

There's room to enjoy all the keyboard players - but you'll get called on blanket statements. We can agree to disagree.

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: jerlouvis Date: Aug 3, 2011 10:37pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: What Do You Like About The 80's ?

I like you WD, and am not looking to argue with anyone here,and certainly have no interest in changing anyones mind about anything.So I guess we will put this one behind us and call it a day.

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: Cliff Hucker Date: Aug 4, 2011 4:11am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: What Do You Like About The 80's ?

"The magic of the early years has little to do with Keith..."

That's pretty far from being an accurate statement. You need to spend a little more time listening to some 1972 shows. Keith's playing is a big reason that the music from the European tour is so fine. Listen to just about any Dark Star or Other One from that tour and you'll see you are wrong...

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: wisconsindead Date: Aug 4, 2011 8:44am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: What Do You Like About The 80's ?

I hear ya Cliff. It is, certainly a bit of an exaggeration. More so trying to emphasize brent's role in his years. Though, I think he was number 5 behind Jerry, Bobby, Phil and Bill. (idk if I'd say that for brent).

Anyway though, wanna link me to something particular? Im still mostly a fall 72 head, of which many recordings dont capture keith. 10-21-72 would be one.

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: Cliff Hucker Date: Aug 4, 2011 9:05am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: What Do You Like About The 80's ?

Just about every performance of Dark Star and The Other One on the Europe '72 tour is marvelous, and not in small part from Keith's contribution.

I would recommend the Tivolis Dark Star on 4/17/72. Keith really shines:

http://www.archive.org/details/gd1972-04-17.sbd.ashley-field.34032.sbeok.flac16

Also the Dark Star in Hamburg on 4/29/72 features some great play by Keith:

http://www.archive.org/details/gd1972-04-29.sbd.sirmick.32877.sbeok.flac16

You certainly need to check out the Truckin'/Other One Jam in Newcastle on 4/11/72. Brilliant Jazz piano by Keith:

http://www.archive.org/details/gd1972-04-11.sbd.jackson.smith.94377.sbeok.flac16

And of course the post drums segement of the Other One from London on 5/26/72. One of Keith's shining moments with the band:

http://www.archive.org/details/gd1972-05-26.sbd.waddell.89641.sbeok.flac16

While I'd have to agree that Brent's introduction certainly revitalized the band. I'd be surprised if you would not concede Keith's superior musicianship after listening to his contributions during what might have been his peak with the Grateful Dead.

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: snow_and_rain Date: Aug 4, 2011 11:09am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: What Do You Like About The 80's ?

Not only that, but I'd say that Keith was an important part of the band's boogie-woogie first set sound from that same period. No other GD keyboard player sounded better on the barroom songs. Brent, by contrast, produced a sound fundamentally at odds with the spirit of those songs.

I like Brent and appreciate the contributions he made, but no way he was better or more central to the sound that Keith was during the golden years. Find me one sloppy performance by Keith from 1971-1974. Just one.

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: reviewr Date: Aug 2, 2011 7:37pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: What Do You Like About The 80's ?

That is a good argument. I agree with what you said - I like the 80s/90s too. Those years add some nice variety.

But at the end of the day do you want to hear '72 or '82? '77 or '87? For me the '70s win.

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: wisconsindead Date: Aug 3, 2011 7:02am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: What Do You Like About The 80's ?

it just all depends...

I just woke up to 1972-09-28. Sound quality is unreal! fall 72 has for a while, been my favorite.

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: dark.starz Date: Aug 2, 2011 8:16pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: What Do You Like About The 80's ?

Hey Wisconsin,

Your enthusiasm is greatly appreciated here. For the record, Keith Godchaux is the finest Grand Piano player and Brent Mydland is the finest Hammond B-3 player in the history of GD line-ups. As you invest a little more listening time towards the 72-73 / 76-77 era's you'll appreciate Keith a tad more. :)

We used to visit Wilmot & Alpine Valley for skiing in the late seventies, (20 minutes in the tow line, 30 seconds on the run) and caught a few Alpine Valley shows Supertramp, Doobie Brothers, The Eagles Long Run tour etc.

Are there still a good selection of show's performed at Alpine Valley? The Dead always enjoyed the venue.

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: wisconsindead Date: Aug 3, 2011 11:43am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: What Do You Like About The 80's ?

Not really, unfortunately. FOr w.e reason Phish bailed on Alpine this year which has been a major bummer. As I'd have to go to evil chicago and pay up the ass to see them. Totally lame!!!!

Last years phish shows there were epic. After listening to the release of the first night many times, I wish I wouldn't have been as tipsy so I could've really taken in how amazing of a show I saw.

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: Scrim Date: Aug 2, 2011 4:25pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: What Do You Like About The 80's ?

The 80's rocked

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: deadhead53 Date: Aug 2, 2011 5:37pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: What Do You Like About The 80's ?

I like many years from the 80's and there was some great stuff put out early in the decade, I am not a Brent basher but I enjoy Pig and Keith better. All bands change as they get older and that was the case with the dead, their sound changed in the 80's (midi, brent, new songs etc.) which was fine. I do enjoy listening to many of the 80 years 80-84 and then 86 personally, just like I will listen to some of the 90's shows and attended some of them. Even though some were bad I enjoyed it and left with a smile because it was what it was, I knew it was not the golden years but if they were playing I was trying to go if I could. It is hard to bring anything new to the table in this discussion because so many have done that very eloquently and I echo many of the sentiments. I like the 80's, it is how I got into the band but then I met a trader and started collecting and listening to many of the golden year shows and was f'n blown away, so I choose to listen to those shows more so than the 80's-90's shows but there are some great shows done there and I do try to listen to as many as I can because the 80's were the tractor beam (sorry for the bad star wars pun) that sucked me into the band

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: reviewr Date: Aug 2, 2011 6:31pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: What Do You Like About The 80's ?

The basic show format:
60 minute Set 1.
Break.
90 minute Set 2 with Drums/Space.

A guilty pleasure: "My Brother Esau".

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: user unknown Date: Aug 2, 2011 6:55pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: What Do You Like About The 80's ?

one word...acoustic

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: jerlouvis Date: Aug 2, 2011 8:47pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: What Do You Like About The 80's ?

My single favorite performance of the decade is a riveting vocal on a Dylan masterpiece in what is essentially a duet between Jerry and Phil,heartfelt vocals and Phil fully engaged is a rarity for the 80's and you get them both here.There is also a short simple jam before the last verse featuring Jer and Phil that has a unique feel,a pretty tension,it begins at about 6:30 and ends at 7:45.

http://www.archive.org/details/gd1986-03-19.s1.sbd.barletta-sirmick.109882.sbeok.flac16

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: light into ashes Date: Aug 3, 2011 12:52am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: What Do You Like About The 80's ?

That is very nice - I like it more than the next one on 4/22/86, it's more heartfelt & less rushed, though a bit clunky - what's interesting is Garcia hasn't "internalized" the song yet, so he's trying to sing like Dylan!

By comparison, a video from '95:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JKhM-Ed8R8k
And here's Garcia's JGB version of the song, from a studio in the '70s:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PJk2pmgWfak

This reminds me of one thing I love about the '80s - Garcia doing She Belongs To Me in '85. Musically the band plods a bit, but Garcia nails the soul of that song.
http://www.archive.org/post/297667/she-belongs

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: jerlouvis Date: Aug 3, 2011 8:24am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: What Do You Like About The 80's ?

LIA,I can't thank you enough for posting a link to that bonus disc version of Visions,I have been searching the torrent sites with no luck for quite a while,if I remember correctly in a long past thread you also expressed a desire to hear it I am very excited,Keith and Jerry doing Visions.
Onto the 86' version,I feel like you do about it in that it seems pure,while a little clunky(it is the 80's) it is also an odd song in terms of cadence,dense with lyrics and difficult vocal shadings,based on past train wrecks on much less complex material Jerry does a commendable job,only a few mistakes on 5 very full verses of lyrics.It was a powerful performance to witness,I got a full body rush throughout the song,being a Dylan fanatic after the first line I was ecstatic.The gentleness and attention to detail by both Jerry and Phil is impressive,and I thought Jerry's Dylan like vocal was endearing,he seemed seriously locked in throughout the song.The next version in Berkeley seemed rushed and not well done,the later versions I find disturbing and depressing.

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: sakanaband Date: Aug 4, 2011 11:41am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: What Do You Like About The 80's ?

What did I like about the 80’s Dead?

For me, this was the first era when the band could be just plain glowing hot on one night versus another.

I love the late 60's through Fall of 77' ('76 an exception) but with the exception of 'Dark Star' or other jam vehicles, I cannot typically differentiate one performance of a song from another. This is probably due to an excess of riches where the band was consistently in very fine form. For me, a hot show in that era had almost everything to do with the setlist or a unique jam. That is cool and why that era was fantastic.

The 80's, for me, started the advent of the phenomenon when the band would be blazing and throwing fireballs rendering the setlist as essentially meaningless. Everything they touched turned to gold. True alchemists :) Being there for many shows like that was, um, thrilling. After the first song or two, the venue would literally heat up in temperature if it was indoors. Outdoors it was in tune with the elements. To me, it felt like the band had a cosmic inertia that was the musical equivalent of pulling down the arm of a slot machine and it keeps coming up bars and cherries and the coins are dropping on the floor. People touring at that time certainly recognized this phenomenon. It wasn’t “What did they play?” it was “Were they hot?” There were countless times that even bored security folks and ushers would become entranced and just stare at the stage since this was a palpable experience if you were awake and alive. These were also the nights when our expectations for the band were almost cruelly too high and they would proceed to exceed them and then just destroy that town.

A very few examples of this, to me, are the following off the top of my head:
1981-03-03
1981-03-09
1982-04-12
1983-10-15
1987 Alpine
1988 06-23
1988-07-15>17
1989-10-89
…and there are countless others. This is what some refer to as the “X-factor” I believe. It is an indefinable concept, but is something like: the music playing the band, the audience in symbiosis with the band, and a bold witnessing of the great Power of the universe being channeled through humans, tunneled through electronics then ecstatically transmitted to even more humans.

This was archetypal as our early ancestors dancing around a communal fire for celebration, prayer and catharsis. The band, the P.A., and the light show were the fire, we were the dancers gathered for the same reason. Primal and unfathomable stuff on those ”X” nights. Yep, that’s what I loved about the 80’s. Who wouldn’t? Oh, and the hard-body, sun-drenched, blonde, dreadlocked honey angels with stars and magic in their eyes on Dead tour were pretty great, too.

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: waynecs Date: Aug 3, 2011 7:38am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: What Do You Like About The 80's ?

They're a great cure for insomnia.